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ADB set to scale up India lending to $4 billion annually

The bank's lending commitment included $557 million in loans for the private sector.

Having committed $3.03 billion in loans to India in 2018, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to scale up its lending to $4 billion annually. ADB committed the highest ever annual lending to India in 2018 for 19 projects in transport, urban, skills, agriculture and natural resources, energy and finance sectors, ADB India Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama told reporters Friday. The bank's lending commitment included $557 million in loans for the private sector. The future funding depends on the readiness of the projects in the country, he said.

Speaking on the issue of farm loan waiver, Yokoyama said such write-offs were against economic principles and cannot effectively address the agrarian distress.

"There is a need to address agriculture sector distress…but economic principle-wise, farm loan waiver is not an effective means to address farm distress," he said. State including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have recently announced farms loan waivers. Use of direct benefit transfers to targeted beneficiaries would be help in cutting down leakages.

The multilateral funding institution geared its lending towards addressing the growing employment needs of states in various sectors. In 2018, the bank committed $315 million to Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh to reform and modernise their vocational education institutions and programs to provide job-ready skills training to youth. ADB's total India portfolio currently comprises 82 ongoing projects worth $13.7 billion covering 25 states.
ADB also developed an infrastructure framework plan for inclusive growth in Uttar Pradesh and a vision study to develop Assam as India's Expressway to ASEAN.

The agency has projected the Indian economy to grow at 7.3 per cent in the current fiscal, and at 7.6 per cent next fiscal as investments pick up and GST stabilisation adds to revenues collections of the government.